We would like to share a letter received from one of our members.
Firstly let me declare my interest in, and support for AGSI and GRA in their on-going attempts to seek a justified (partial) restoration of sacrificed pay.
I believe Trade Unions and Staff Associations, the Public Services Committee of ICTU and the Alliance of Retired Public Servants should increase their efforts to correct the gross inequalities of the Lansdowne Road Agreement and the six Financial Emergency in the Public Interest (FEMPI) Acts introduced since 2009.
The idea that all Public Service workers and pensioners are treated equally or fairly under the LRA and FEMPI is a fallacy.
On January 1st 2016 those on salaries up to €24000 and €31000 received pay restoration, which was fair enough. The next group to receive a FULL RESTORATION of the pay cut imposed on them by the FEMPI Act 2013 on July 1st. 2013, will be those on salaries over €65000. Pay will be restored on April 1st. 2017 and April 1st. 2018 for those over €65000, and on these dates plus April 1st. 2019 for those over €110000. One would have thought that in the interest of fairness and equity the next group to receive pay restoration on January 1st. 2016 or even April 1st. 2017 should have been those on salaries between €31000 and €65000 and then, and only then to the higher paid. Those between €31000 and €65000 will have to wait until September 1st 2017 to receive a paltry €1000 while the much higher paid will have received restoration of pay five months earlier.
This is obscene and unfair and should be reversed immediately. The Public Services Committee of ICTU and all Public Service Trade Unions and Associations should endeavour to have this obscene anomaly reversed.
Why is a pay cut being restored in full to those over €65000 while the lower paid have to wait patiently for a few partial crumbs?
A simple change at Section 5.2 of the LRA from the FEMPI Act 2013 to the FEMPI (No. 2) Act 2009 would see to that by ensuring that all Public Servants ( including those on salaries over €65000) would receive pay restoration. Then, and only then should the question of a second restoration of pay to the higher paid be addressed. If a ball of twine is ravelled you do not fix it by unravelling the last six inches sticking out – go back to where the knot started and proceed from there!
Gardaí and some other Public Servants actually received three pay cuts through FEMPI (No. 2) Act 2009; a cut to basic pay, a knock on cut to allowances linked to basic pay, and a further cut of 5% to allowances not linked to basic pay.
The Lansdowne Road Agreement was commended to the parties by the Labour Relations Commission on May 29th. 2015. The Public Services Committee of ICTU announced its acceptance of the Agreement on September 2015. Why did the Government not publish the FEMPI Bill 2015 until October 7th. 2015? This Bill should have been published before voting commenced by ICTU and non ICTU Unions and Associations.
There is also a gross inequality in the way Public Service Pensioners are treated. Those who retired up to February 29th. 2012 were given a grace period by having their pensions calculated on the previous pay cut rates of pay while those who retired after that date were penalised with a pension cut based on FEMPI Legislation. Those pensions should be immediately restored (not to mention retrospectively!) now that the financial emergency is over. We hear of the plight of teachers in the Staff Room doing the same job but for different pay. Well, what about pensioners who have done the same job and given loyal service being paid different pensions? Any Government interested in fairness and equity should now accept that this unequal anomaly has pertained for too long and should have it reversed immediately!
Ps. What ever happened to the 2.5% and 3.5% pay increases awarded under the Towards 2016 Pay Agreement that was “parked” when the financial emergency hit us like a tsunami in 2008? Nothing, that is what happened! The time is well nigh to take off the parking brake!
Seven year old unpaid promises and pay cuts should be addressed as a matter of urgency.
Is anyone in Trade Union or Government circles interested in fairness and equity of treatment?